November 22, 2017

Will the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Seek to Recover Money It Paid Out When I Die?

The Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Estate Recovery Program

Under certain circumstances, if you have received benefits from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), the DPW may be entitled to take action against your estate for reimbursement of amounts paid. This blog post provides an overview of when the DPW can seek such reimbursement and what property is subject to a claim by the Department of Public Welfare.

The Estate Recovery Program

Under the law, the Department of Public Welfare can file a claim against an estate for Medical Assistance (Medicaid) payments made on or after August 15, 1994, provided the recipient was over the age of 55 at the time service were provided. Under Pennsylvania law, the Department of Public Welfare can also seek recovery for nursing facility, home and community based services, and any related hospital or prescription pharmaceutical services.

Nursing home services have been defined to include:

  • General, hospital or county nursing home services
  • Intermediate care facilities for mentally challenged persons, or people with similar or related conditions

Home and community-based services cover a wide range of Medicaid services designed to prevent institutionalized care, such as the PDA 60+ aging waiver.

Under the law, “all estate property” is subject to recovery by the DPW. This includes any asset that is subject to probate, including life insurance proceeds (unless the life insurance proceeds are paid directly to a named beneficiary other than the estate). It also includes some deposit accounts that may typically pass outside of probate. Assets that are held jointly by the deceased and another person are not subject to a claim, nor are assets placed in trust before the death of the decedent.

For purposes of priority, a claim by the Department of Public Welfare for reimbursement of Medicaid payments will only be paid once all costs of administration of the estate have been paid, and the family exemption of $3,500 has been paid.

Contact Us

At Halligan & Keaton, in Media, Pennsylvania, we have more than 60 years of combined legal experience. We provide a free initial consultation to every client. To discuss your estate planning needs with an experienced lawyer, call our office at 610-566-6030 or contact us online. We will travel to your home, a long-term care facility or the hospital to meet with you.